Social Support Associated With Heart Attack Recovery

Patients with low social support at greater risk for angina, depression and reduced quality of life
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients recovering from myocardial infarction who have low levels of social support (SS) are more likely to suffer from angina, be more depressed, and have poorer quality of life than patients with high levels of SS, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in Circulation: Quality and Outcomes.

Erica C. Leifheit-Limson, of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues analyzed data on 2,411 patients who had suffered acute myocardial infarction and participated in the Prospective Registry Evaluating Myocardial Infarction: Events and Recovery (PREMIER) study. The researchers conducted follow-up at one, six, and 12 months after hospital discharge and analyzed survey data to determine associations between SS (characterized as low, moderate or high) with angina, depressive symptoms, overall physical and mental functioning, and disease-related quality of life issues in the initial year post-myocardial infarction.

The researchers found that, compared to the patients with high SS, the patients with the lowest SS overall had higher risk of angina (relative risk, 1.27), a worse disease-related quality of life, more symptoms of depression and a lower overall mental functioning. By sex, the association of SS and the study outcomes was found to be stronger for women than men.

"For each of our selected outcomes, the effect of SS was stronger for women, with this variation by sex reaching statistical significance for the outcomes of disease-specific quality of life, general physical functioning, and depressive symptoms," the authors write.

The PREMIER study was supported by CV Therapeutics Inc. Also, one author owns the copyright to the Seattle Angina Questionnaire used in the study.

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